Top 5 Digital Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Business Online
Digital marketing has revolutionized the way businesses reach their audience. Small home grown businesses have flourished into million dollar operations thanks to the accessibility that is the internet. The world wide web has made it possible for the little guys to compete with the big guys and get a piece of the multi-billion dollar e-commerce industry. There is very little that would stop anyone from competing online except for knowledge of how this intricate digital system really works. Computer access is free at local libraries, so not having a computer, and not having internet is a lame excuse. If you want to learn how to make money online, or would like to improve the visibility of your website online. We spoke to Ryan Huffman of Beyond Theory to get his take on the Digital marketing space and he came up with his list of the top 5 digital marketing strategies that every business should be considering.
Search Engine Marketing has many different advertising opportunities. There is Pay Per Click, organic search results (SEO), and maps listings. All of these are great sources for referral traffic to your website. Here is a very simple breakdown of the SEM Marketing opportunities.
Pay Per Click is a great way to get traffic to your website immediately. If you search Google for a product or service you will see Ads displayed at the top of the page, sometimes the sides, and sometimes at the bottom of the page. These are paid advertisements that businesses will bid on and pay for each time someone clicks on the Ad and is taken to their website. That’s where the term “Pay Per Click” comes from, it is literally referencing the pricing model of the paid advertisement. PPC campaigns are very effective, highly targeted, and highly competitive in high dollar markets. PPC campaigns will have a daily budget attached to them, once the budget has been spent, the PPC campaign will pause until the following day. At that point, the daily budget starts over, and the Ad displays again. For businesses needing to drive traffic to their site immediately, this is a great way to traffic to site right away. One of the drawbacks with PPC is that if a business decides to stop running PPC it’s all over. The money spent is gone and unless you convert that traffic into a sale or a new customer you have nothing to show for the money that was spent. PPC definitely has its place in the Digital marketing world and when you run it in conjunction with the other strategies listed here it can be the perfect storm.
- Search Engine Optimization
In order to get your business found in the organic search results, you will need to optimize the property for search. This is something the industry refers to as On-Site Optimization. An SEO company will comb through your site and modify the content and the metadata so that it is crawled and indexed by Google for the target keywords. A keyword may be something like “best steak in Texas” – if there is a restaurant in Texas that wanted to show up in Google on Page 1 for that search query, they would need to optimize their site for that. On-Site Optimization is only part of the SEO process, the other part is Off-Site Optimization. Off-Site optimization requires you or the company providing you with SEO services to generate content and get it published on other blogs and websites run by other businesses. Those blogs and websites would then link to the businesses website providing them with a backlink. If that steakhouse in Texas got an article published on the USDA website and there was a link in that article pointing back to them that was anchored “best steakhouse in Texas” they would almost instantly rank for that. Think of it as a popularity contest, the biggest, most powerful sources that are pointing to your website will make you popular in Google eyes. Now there is more to it than that, but that is a major part of how it works.
So why care about SEO? People trust organic search results more than they trust paid ads. Think about your own search habits, how do you interact with the Google search results? Do you click on Paid Ads or do you scroll down to the organic listings and click on those? I’m sure it depends on what you are searching for, but you see where I am going with this. Learn more about businesses that offer search engine optimization services here.
- Maps Listings
There was a time when organic search results were the main priority with local businesses needing SEO. The truth is that the maps listing has become as valuable, if not more valuable than organic. This holds true with local businesses only where map listings are displayed in the search results based on proximity from the person searching. There was a time where you could rank a maps listing for cities other than the one the business was located in. Now Google serves results based on many variables, but the two common are optimization and proximity. This means that if your maps listing is optimized properly and someone is searching for your product or services near your place of business they will find you. The benefit to being at the top of maps when someone searches on a mobile device is that there are multiple single click calls to action. You can visit the website with a single click, call with a single click, or read reviews with a single click. For obvious reasons, this is extremely valuable for anyone searching on a mobile phone, especially if they are out and about searching while away from their home.
Youtube is the second largest search engine behind Google. Video is the most consumed form of media on the web. Combine those two elements and you have an opportunity to create and broadcast your content to thousands, if not millions of people online. Local businesses may not see the opportunity in leveraging video as part of their digital marketing campaign, mostly because they just don’t know how effective it can be. Driving traffic off of Youtube and over to your website can provide added value and help build your brand as an authority in your niche. Video allows you to personally engage your audience, showcase your knowledge, and create visibility on the most popular video sharing platform in the world. The best thing is, creating a Youtube account is free, posting content is free, and making money by monetizing your content is free. This platform is a no brainer for any business trying to further their reach online and even turn a profit doing it.
You can pick any of the main social media platforms to market on and you can’t go wrong. The audiences are grand, engagement is high, and the opportunity to monetize followers is through the roof. Platforms like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram offer paid advertising to businesses. These are similar to the PPC campaigns and the billing models can vary. There is cost per Impression campaigns, pay per click, and a few others I’m not familiar with. A social media platform like Facebook allows a business the opportunity to go in and create an extremely targeted ad campaign. If you use Facebook then you know how much of your personal information they have. They know the music you like, restaurants you like, places you have checked in at, who your friends are, what you do for a living, where you went to school, and every other piece of personal data you have given them as a user of their platform. That is insane data that businesses can leverage to market to a very targeted audience. Never before in the history of the world has there been such an opportunity to highly target a demographic like that. Insane! There are social media management companies out there that can setup and manage campaigns for your business.
Creating an email list is one of the most important elements of building an online business. This is also something that local businesses can benefit from doing if they can leverage emails to generate more business or convert people on the lists into customers. Online businesses that use clickfunnels and landing pages will capture emails using various strategies, then they will retarget those people with other offers. Building an email list allows you to message your audience whenever you have a special, new product, service, or anything to offer that they may not have previously been aware of. The opportunities that email marketing give you surpass many of the other digital marketing strategies for the simple fact that you have already created trust with the audience, they have signed up to hear from you, and are more likely to engage with your content if you send them an email. This should be a top priority for every business local and online.
A good digital marketer will use podcasting as a way to generate media, reach an audience that consumes audio content, and showcase their expertise. After speaking to some clients about Podcasting I learned that most people see the value in it, but the technology is somewhat of an obstacle. Most business owners I spoke with had to ask, what is a podcast? Learning to record and edit audio is only part of the process, then you need to publish it to the web on various platforms so that it becomes available to your audience. Creating these accounts and managing them seem to be a bit of a mystery to many business owners we spoke with. However, if you were to take the time to learn how to produce a quality podcast you may find that the value in it far exceeds the inconvenience of learning a new technical trade.
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